How to Protect Your Screen Door From Children and Pets

Protecting your screen doors from children and pets is not a difficult task, but it is a task that may require repeated effort. You may see success more quickly by combining the use of several steps concurrently. Once you have established your expectations for your pets and your own children, you may need to offer occasional corrections or communicate your expectations to your children's friends.

  1. Keep your main door closed when possible. This prevents pets from coming into contact with the screen door and places a barrier between the screen and your children while they are indoors. Simply having to open your main door will slow your children as they exit. They will also have to stop to close the main door before they allow the screen door to close behind them, which can reduce door slamming.

  2. Open and close the door for your pets and children. Wait until they are calm and paying attention, then open the door as widely as possible to allow them to exit without coming into contact with the door.

  3. Keep your screen door in good repair. A damaged door may become more damaged through routine use. Children may tend to treat a damaged door with less care. Children may pick at torn screens, and a door with a spring or piston closing mechanism in disrepair may slam shut, leading children to accept a slamming door as routine. Install a self-closing system or hydraulic closing mechanism to reduce wear and tear on doors.

  4. Add a visual cue to warn people and pets that your screen door is closed. Coming into the house on a bright day, pets and children may not notice the screen against your house's darker interior, and may crash into the door, mistakenly thinking it open. Products such as stickers and magnetic signs are available to serve as warnings of a closed door.

  5. Actively manage the behavior of your pets. Recognize the early signs that your pet needs to answer the call of nature to reduce urgency at the door. Discourage pets from clawing at the door or aggressively greeting strangers who come to your door. Use a simple system of consistently punishing negative behavior and rewarding acceptable behavior to correct and guide your pet into more acceptable habits. Professional training may be necessary for pets with ingrained or serious behavioral issues.

  6. Teach your children to have respect when using the door. Quickly correct any behaviors that may lead to damage, including slamming the door, running into and out of the house, or coming and going frequently. Discourage children from using their feet to open or close the door. Encourage children to always use the door handle to manipulate the door.